What are the different types of bongs?

11 min read
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Whether your tried and true bong accidentally cracked and you’re looking for a new piece, or you’ve never used a bong before and want to learn more, this guide is for you! While the sheer variety may seem overwhelming to those who aren’t bong connoisseurs, all types of bongs work similarly, but some have a few more bells and whistles than others. We’re going to help you figure out exactly what type of bong would be best for your personal smoking style by breaking down the various bong materials, features, price points, sizes, and different types of bongs that are most popular right now. Check out selection of bongs by type and easily learn more by clicking the links to our online shop.

How to choose a bong

Don’t be drawn in by a bong’s looks alone, there are several other factors to consider before dropping cash on a  new piece. Not only do you want it to look cool and match with your personal aesthetic, you’ll also want a bong that fits with your lifestyle, smoking style, and budget. These are a just a few things to think about when choosing a bong, so you get something you’ll love:

  • Size - The amount of interior space a bong has makes a big difference in how it hits. Huge bongs have a larger main chamber where smoke can accumulate for massive rips that should be left to seasoned stoners or those who want to test their limits. Small and medium-sized water pipes are easier to clear and are perfect for newbies or those who want something more manageable.
  • Design - The different types of water bongs aren’t just for looks. Each style is designed for a reason. Some types of bongs produce hard, direct hits because of their shape, while other styles have more drag or are designed to keep splashback at a minimum. We go into further detail regarding all the types of bongs for weed later in this article.
  • Aesthetic - Did you ever come across a bong that stopped you in your tracks because it was so cool to look at? Whether you want a minimal bong that meshes perfectly with your home decor, a statement piece, or a pipe that matches with your personal style, aesthetic matters. From sleek, minimal styles to character bongs and unique hand blown glass bongs, there’s a piece out there that matches with every aesthetic. 
  • Features - If a bong has extra features like percolators, recyclers, ice catchers, and splash guards, it will typically be pricier than more basic versions. Most stoners choose pieces that have at least one percolator, which will help produce additional bubbles and increase the water filtration, aeration, and cooling of the smoke, making each toke comfortable on the lungs. What features you choose will depend on your preferences. If you enjoy ice cold smoke, be sure the bong has an ice catcher and maybe even a recycler. These special features are what sets bongs apart from other smoking devices.
  • Material - The material a bong is made from is just as important as the design and size. Most tokers prefer high-quality borosilicate glass since it burns clean and is entirely tasteless. Heat-resistant silicone and acrylic are two of the cheapest bong materials and silicone bongs are nearly indestructible. Wood, metal, and ceramic pieces are much rarer and have a distinct opaque look that some people are drawn to. Ceramic is a great heat insulator and also burns clean like glass, while some people say that metal bongs produce a metallic taste.
  • Smoking style - It’s important to take into account your personal smoking style. If you like to take bong rips during your day to day routine while out and about, you’ll probably prefer a lightweight, portable, and discreet design that can take a beating. Mini bongs, silicone bongs, or plastic bongs are best for travel and taking on the go. On the other hand, if you’re more the type that likes to invite friends over for a smoke and video game session, a big bong with a stable base and large bowl that’s easy to pass may be more your style.
  • Price - There are countless different types of bongs with price points to match. Luckily, it’s possible to find water bongs that fit every budget. Collectors may reach for unique types of bongs that are one-of-a-kind works of art created by well-known glass blowers and cost in the thousands, while your average smoker will be satisfied with a medium-sized glass bong ranging from $50 to $100. For stoners who partake in cannabis concentrates and flower, it’s more cost effective to pick a bong that can also be used as a dab rig by swapping out the bowl for a banger.

Materials used to make bongs

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When taking a look at all the types of water bongs available on the market, the most obvious difference is the material it’s made from. Glass bongs are the most common, but water pipes are crafted from many different materials, all of which have their own unique sets of advantages and drawbacks. Some of the most widespread materials include:

  • Glass - Glass bongs are by far the most popular since the material is easy to produce, burns clean, doesn’t leave any taste, and is simple to clean. Additionally, glass bongs don’t get extremely hot to the touch like some other materials do. However, not all types of glass bongs are the same. Always choose borosilicate glass, also called scientific glass, which is made with a high concentration of boron trioxide and silica. This type of glass is stronger and heat-resistant.
  • Silicone - When it comes to silicone bongs, the main advantage is that they are almost impossible to break, making them ideal for accident prone stoners. A heat-safe silicone bong is a good addition to any water pipe collection since they are also lightweight and pliable, perfect for travel, passing around a group of friends, or taking on the go.
  • Acrylic - Acrylic bongs are typically the cheapest option and are also lightweight, but can crack and leak. Acrylic bongs are not recommended since they are known to leave a bad taste, may release harmful chemicals, and don’t last as long as other materials. It’s best to splurge a little more and get a long-lasting piece like a silicone or glass bong, which will save you cash in the long run. 
  • Ceramic - While not as famous as other bong materials, ceramic bongs have a unique, opaque look that adds a touch of luxury and class that is highly underrated. Ceramic has a very long history and has been used to craft bongs, pipes, and other smoking pieces for thousands of years. Many of these types of bongs resemble vases or artwork and won’t draw as much attention as other styles. Ceramic is also safe to smoke from and tasteless as long as it’s made with lead-free, non-toxic clay and glazes and fired correctly. With all the same benefits of glass for a more affordable price, ceramic bongs are a great option if you want something that stands out from the crowd.
  • Metal - Why use metal bongs you ask? Plain and simple, they last forever and are pretty much indestructible. They aren’t nicknamed “the immortals” for nothing! A single high-quality metal bong will last you a lifetime and will stick by your side during any adventure without fail with unparalleled durability. The only downside is that some people say their flower gets a metallic taste. When picking a metal bong, be sure it’s made from surgical or food-grade metals such as steel or brass.
  • Wood - Most wood bongs today are made with a mix of wood and other materials such as glass. In this case, the wood is only used for aesthetic purposes, adding a touch of luxury to any smoking session. On rare occasions, you’ll find a bong made entirely out of premium hardwood. Smokers who choose wood say it complements the herb and gives it a richer flavor.

Different types of bongs

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If you’re new to smoking marijuana or typically smoke joints, vaporizers, pipes, or use other methods, you may be unfamiliar with all the different types of bongs available. Many newbies look for a new bong online and get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. Don’t let that scare you! When breaking down the types of weed bongs into categories, it’s much easier to see the differences beyond the physical appearance and visualize how it will smoke. By now, you should have a pretty good idea about how to choose a bong based on smoking style, size, material, and design and have a budget in mind. Now we’re going to explain the different types of bongs you’ll come across and some of the features associated with each style. Keep in mind that each of these types of bongs were designed for a specific purpose to enhance the experience when smoking cannabis.

Beaker bong

The classic silhouette and one of the oldest designs is the beaker. Resembling a piece of science equipment, beaker bongs are sought after for their large and stable base that’s ideal for sharing. Beaker bongs also have lots of space for smoke to accumulate leading to powerful, direct hits that smokers are drawn to again and again. This bong design ranges from very basic styles with a simple downstem to to varieties that include percolators and built-in ice catchers.

Top picks: Solid Hexagonal Ceramic Bong, Tommy Gun Beaker Bong, Psychedelic Silicone Beaker Bong, Sludge Cyclops Bong 

Straight tube bong

Straight tube bongs, also called straight shooters, look just as you would imagine. This tall, straight cylindrical style was designed to produce the hardest and most direct hits possible. It’s important to note that if a straight tube bong has interior percolators or other features, this can cause some drag. One of the main drawbacks of straight tube bongs is that they are often tall with small bases, making them great for sharing, but easier to accidentally knock over compared to beaker bongs.

Top picks: Twisted Rainbow Straight Tube Bong, Royal Glass Straight Tube, Pink Hello Kitty Straight Tube Bong 

Zig zag bong

Nicknamed a Zong bong for short, Zig zag bongs have a super cool look and you won’t see them around as much as other styles. These water pipes are essentially straight shooters that have a “Z” or “S'' shape instead of a straight neck. This design ensures that dirty bong water remains down where it belongs and won’t reach your mouth, acting like a built-in splash guard. Zongs were definitely created by a pothead who was fed up with drinking bong water every time they took a massive rip from a straight tube bong. We can see it now.

Top picks: Huge Rainbow Zong Bong, Szong Bong 

Round base bong

As the name suggests, round base bongs have a circular main chamber, and often sits on a flat base for stability. Round base bongs have a neat look that resembles a genie in a magic lamp. This bong shape allows for a large interior space for smoke to concentrate prior and produces rips that are very similar to beaker bongs.

Top picks: Waterfall Supernova Bong, Pottery Bong, Noble Glass Glow in the Dark Ribbon Bong, Glowing Hooter Bong

Percolator bong

Today, most stoners prefer percolator bongs, which utilize water filtration to its fullest for silky smooth bong rips that are comfortable on the throat. To be categorized as a percolator bong, the water pipe needs to have at least one percolator (also called a perc), which is an interior water feature with little slits that generate lots of bubbles for the most effective aeration, filtration, and cooling. In addition to the different types of bongs, there are also several types of percolators. Some of the most common are tree percs, honeycomb percs, showerhead percs, matrix percs, inline percs, fritted disk pers, and percolated downstems, but there are many others. Percs create a cool aesthetic and are really fun to watch when someone takes a hit. Keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages to each percolator style including functionality, how fragile it is, how it works in conjunction with other percs, and how easy it is to clean. Also, percolator bongs with lots of percs may have smoother hits, but this comes at the expense of additional drag.

Top picks: Double Trouble Percolator Bong, Coiled Experiment Perc Bong, Swiss Jelly Percolator Bong, Ultra Filtration Percolator Bong

Recycler bong

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Recycler bongss, or multi-chamber bongs are the most entertaining style to watch and are fun for group smoke sessions. A multi-chamber bong will have interior or exterior tubes that force the smoke to travel for a longer distance and get recycled back into the water chamber for a second round of filtration. This means the milky plumes will be extra cold and double filtered when it reaches your lips. Because of all the tubes, recycler bongs look like they’re taken straight out of a sci-fi movie or would be something Bane would smoke from. Recycler bongs work best in conjunction with percolators, so most recyclers have both.

Top picks: The Carburetor Recycler Bong, Extraterrestrial Multi-Chamber Bong, Cylindrical Recycler Bong, Tubular Swiss Perc Bong, Gigantic Piston Percolator Bong

Waterfall gravity bong

The words gravity bong and waterfall bong are often used interchangably, however there is a slight differences between the two. Both use water to change the air pressure inside the main chamber, however a gravity bong is pulled up out of the water to create a vacuum similar to inhaling through a mouthpiece, while a waterfall bong lets water out via a hole, which has the same effect. Gravity bongs are a ton of fun, but they do not utilize the water for filtration, aeration, or cooling purposes, thus rips are more similar to a pipe than a bong.

Top picks: 3-in-1 Gravity Bong, Grav Gravitron Gravity Bong, or make a homemade gravity bong

Mini bong

Mini bongs have tons of advantages. They’re easy to manage, clean, pass, and store, plus they’re more discreet than their larger counterparts and great for beginners. We consider any water pipe that’s roughly 6 inches or smaller a mini bong. But don’t let their petite size fool you, these tiny devices still pack a punch and some even have mini percs for smoother smoke.

Top picks: Silicone Demon Bong, Hive Mini Bong, Pink Portable Two-Tone Carb Bong, Cobra Snake Bong, Glass Striped Mini Carb Bong

Big bong

For seasoned tokers who want to take massive rips and test their limits, a big bong is the way to go. Here at Everything 420, we consider any type of bong that stands at 15 inches or taller, a big bong. These are fun to hit and make a great goal to work up to, but they can be difficult to pass, clean, and store because of their size.

Top picks: The Rondeau Bong, The Sestina Bong, Quadruple Helix Glyco Chill Bong, Sprouted Mushroom Perc Bong


Bubblers are a wonderful mix, taking the best aspects of both a dry pipe, its small size, and a bong, water filtration. Bubblers are considered water pipes, just like bongs and come in a variety of styles including hammer bubblers, sidecar bubblers, Sherlock bubblers, double bubblers that have two bowls, and many others. Most bubblers have a fixed bowl and carb to control airflow, however some have a removable bowl, just like a bong. If you enjoy smoking from pipes, but feel the smoke is too harsh, bubblers will be your new best friend. Their discreet and portable size make them great for travel too!

Top picks: Grav Globe Bubbler, Dino DNA Bubbler Bong, Patched Quilt Layback Bubbler, Glowing Ghost Guy Pipe Bubbler

What about bong accessories?

Most bong accessories are not required for smoking herbs aside from a bowl and lighter, however there are several items that make the experience more stress-free and enjoyable. A dry herb grinder and rolling tray are two products every stoner should have, no matter how you like to smoke. Extra bong bowls are inexpensive and great to have on hand since some bowls may be better suited for certain situations and bong styles over others. Some 420 enthusiasts like to add a pipe screen to the bottom of the bowl to ensure no large pieces of flower or ash gets pulled down into the smoke. This means you won’t need to clean your bong as often! Speaking of cleaning, every bong owner should have a few essential cleaning products such as a solution for cleaning different types of glass bongs, isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, and extra large pipe cleaners. If you also enjoy cannabis concentrates like wax, shatter, and hash, it’s possible to swap out the bong bowl for a banger and use most bongs as a dab rig, so keeping a few bangers with a compatible joint is a good idea.

Now that you’re an expert on all different types of bongs, understand the various features and materials available, and know how to choose the right bong for your smoking style, it’s time to pick one out and get smoking! Here at Everything 420, we have a huge rotating selection of water pipes including mini bongs, glass bongs, silicone bongs, character pieces, heady glass bongs, cheap bongs, bowls, bong accessories, and more.

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